The past is over

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Catholic Sunday Reflection

by Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza

God makes every moment an opportunity for growth. When I had my mission exposure in South Cotabato in 2010, I was assigned to a GKK (Gagmay’ng Kristohanong Katilingban, the local counterpart of the Basic Ecclesial Communities or BECs) called Pantalan. A pantalan or port is usually where various commodities are being loaded and unloaded from ships and other vessels. But in this case, the GKK Pantalan is not surrounded by water but by mountains and trees. Some locals shared that a few years ago there was a river in that place with a port and they called it Pantalan. When the river dried up, the people decided to keep the name.

The story behind the name of the place truly struck me because I had left Manila with a heavy heart. I harbored a lot of grudges toward so many people and this distracted me from my duties. But during my stay at Pantalan, I met some people who inspired me to move on from these past experiences. This situation allowed me to let go of these grudges. Indeed, the following points helped me to recompose myself and to move on in life.

Point #1 Believe that God has better plans for you. As the Lord would say in the First Reading, “Do not remember the former things, or consider the things of old. I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it” (Is. 43:18-19)? No matter how worst the past is, believe that God has great and wonderful things ahead of you. It may seem unclear and imprecise at first but God will never fail to make our crooked life straight once again. Indeed, I was able to complete my first assignment as Pastor of Mother of Perpetual Help Parish because of those past challenges that made me fervent in faith and flexible to continue working for God’s Kingdom regardless the difficulties. Do you believe that God allowed you to go through problems to gain strength and courage to overcome future challenge to achieve His greater plans?

Point #2 Focus your gaze only on Jesus. Draw strength and inspiration from Jesus who had also experienced a lot of trials before tasting the fruit of Resurrection. In the Second Reading St. Paul admitted that with the grace of God he was able to pursue God’s plan for him. He said, “Beloved, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but this one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the heavenly call of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:13-14). St. Paul discovered his mission from Jesus so he left his old self. He changed from being a persecutor to a promoter of Christ Jesus. If we focus our attention to Jesus and ignore our self-centered interest, we will discover God’s amazing plans for us. What do you think is your mission on earth as a faithful follower of Jesus?

Point #3 Embrace your second chance. In the Gospel, Jesus gave the adulterous woman another chance when He said, “Neither do I condemn you.

Go your way, and from now on do not sin again” (Jn. 8:11). Committing sins and mistakes in the past is not the end of the world for any body. Through prayer we can tell God our earnest desire to change and He will keep us through. Nobody lives a perfect life. It is totally meaningless to think that you are the worst person ever unworthy of a second chance. Sylvia Robinson, a famous American singer once said, “Some think it’s holding on that makes one strong; sometimes it’s letting go.” What do you need to let go to fulfill God’s call for you?

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